Nonverbal Communication Reply 2 Turabian Format

 You  are required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words, and assertions must be supported by 1 textbook and/or biblical citation and 1 outside academic resource.

Reply to the following post from a class mate(Donna)

“The nonverbal function of haptics examines the perceptions and meanings of touch behavior.”[1] I was pleasantly surprised to experience the culturally different touch behavior of same sex hand holding when I first visited China in 2001. I was teaching English to students from high school to adult age. My students were friendly, enthusiastic, and generous with their hospitality. On a number of occasions we would go on an outing outside the classroom into the hot and sunny city of Changsha. One of my female students would be sure to hold my hand and make sure I was protected under her sun umbrella. As a New Yorker, I was not used to this close contact. Once I understood the form, I was very happy to be accepted as a friend and I believe this had a positive impact on my gospel witness. Though proselytizing was illegal, we had an approved curriculum that allowed us to share our personal faith in the context of sharing our culture. I think by participating in the nonverbal communication, I was able to establish a relationship in which the students and I could share our beliefs. If I had rejected their touch because it was culturally inappropriate for me, I would likely have risked offending my students and shutting down any further verbal conversation about the gospel. Seventeen years later when attending the naturalization ceremony of another Chinese student, I was again initially surprised at the hand holding and close contact. That student was a new Christian and I think that my accepting the high contact was a simple reinforcement of Christian behavior which loves interculturally. Nonverbal communication can clearly impact gospel witness.

Conversely, I think it would also be interesting to explore the impact that the gospel may have on nonverbal communication. Perhaps because touch was important in Jesus’ ministry, Christians are more likely to engage in high-contact behavior regardless of culture. Jesus healed with touch and people wanted to touch and be touched by Jesus. Compassion and touch coincided. America is a moderate-contact culture, in which are found both high and low contact behaviors depending on ethnicity, gender, age, context, and other factors.[2] If Christianity is added to the list of reasons for increased contact behavior, it might be helpful for Christians to consider that when communicating with people of low-contact cultures. When I lived in Japan I found I needed to restrain myself from getting too “touchy” with my students. Usually when working with little children I am physically affectionate. However, I tried to behave more formally, engaging in less touch with my Japanese students. It is important to not impose our own nonverbal behavior on others, even if we associate it with Christian fellowship.

[1] Stella Ting-Toomey and Leeva C. Chung, Understanding Intercultural Communication, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: Oxford, 2012), 144.

[2] Ibid, 145.

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